Statement on Children and Armed Conflict, annual debate

Statement by Representative of Slovenia to the UN Security Council Ambassador Samuel Žbogar at an annual open debate on Children and Armed Conflict

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

I join others in thanking Special Representative of the Secretary-General Gamba. The report and your briefing today are a demonstration of your commitment and your dedication to work. Thank you very much. I also want to thank UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Chaiban and I can assure you of Slovenia’s support for your four recommendations that you presented today. I want to thank the Former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing and I want to say that we share his trust in the need of the unity of the Council to ensure a better future to our children across the globe. And our special gratitude to the child briefer today. Slovenia applauds your courage to address the members of the Council, to share your personal story and we want to thank you for the advocacy that you are doing.

Mr. President,

The latest Secretary-General report on Children and Armed Conflict, once again portrays persistent negative trends of grave violations against children. Reaching the highest numbers of violations ever recorded, should sound an alarm on the erosion of respect for international law that we are witnessing today.

Particularly situations in Sudan, State of Palestine and Israel, Haiti, Myanmar, Ukraine and Afghanistan require immediate attention. Other listed situations should be also treated without a delay.

With a view to preventing future violations, we would like to urge all parties to conflicts listed in the annexes to the SG Report to engage with SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict and the UN on the ground.

Mr. President,

We have always supported SRSG and Children and Armed Conflict agenda, and we will continue to do so in the future. We want to thank Malta for successful stewardship of the Working Group, as well as other members for good cooperation. Cooperation, which among other led to successful adoption of country specific CAAC conclusions – with Afghanistan being the latest.

Mr. President,

In line with the concept note for today’s debate, I would like to briefly touch on two grave violations. As we stated in the CAAC debate in April, denying children access to humanitarian assistance is particularly cruel and inhumane. It is heart-breaking to read about the significant increase of the humanitarian denial. Humanitarian denial leads to acute malnutrition with effects for lifetime, provided the children survive. Rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian delivery must be guaranteed at all times and without a delay, for whom if not for children.

Further, attacks on schools are prohibited by international humanitarian law. Attacks on schools are the denial of the right to education which is a denial of the future. Educational facilities are deliberately targeted or used for military purposes at an alarmingly increasing rate. So are teachers and students. Schools should be nurtured as safe havens for children, when instead, education is under attack in far too many countries.

There should be zero tolerance for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We commend the ICC for its work in holding the perpetrators accountable. We welcome the adoption of a key strategic and policy documents of the Office of the Prosecutor, including the Revised Policy on children.

But it is not only doom and gloom: In the past years progress has been achieved in several situations, as was just reported today by the SRSG, through the engagement of state and non-state parties to conflicts with the UN. We commend the SRSG and involved Parties that have been removed from the annexes, which happens after concrete and time-bound activities to enhance the protection of children are attained.

Mr. President,

To conclude, we need to reflect on the situation in which we find ourselves today. A situation where the collective security based on respect for the Charter, international law and norms, and the Security Council decisions, is eroding like never before. Security Council and the UN member states need to reverse this trend. We hope we can recommit to these basic principles as soon as possible. We will be working tirelessly to promote it.

Thank you.

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